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What is National Consumer Protection Week & How Can it Help You?

What is National Consumer Protection Week & How Can it Help You?

This week, March 1-7, 2009, is National Consumer Protection Week. This week focuses on helping consumers become more aware and more proactive about their financial situations.  It is a week-long national campaign aimed at providing intensive consumer education. These resources are provided by federal, state, and local government agencies, along with consumer advocacy organizations.

Eileen Harrington, the Director of The Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Consumer Protection stressed that “Practical information is one tool that retains its value, especially in tough economic times.”

In this section, ComparedForMe.com examines what the official website says this week is all about-and how its free tools can help you as a consumer make more informed financial decisions.

The National Consumer Protection Week Website (http://www.consumer.gov/ncpw/index.html) is divided into several helpful sections that are free to access.  Let’s break the website down to give you a clear idea of how the tools they offer can be applied to your own financial and business situation.

Consumer Info

  • This section of the National Consumer Protection Week website is divided into the following sub-sections: Banking, Credit, Consumer Rights, Identity Theft & Fraud, Investments, Money, and Mortgages.
  • Upon clicking on one of the above-mentioned topics, you are taken to a page that gives you the following free resources: Websites, PDF’s, and Online Articles & Tools.
  • These websites, PDF’s, and Online Articles & Tools are presented to you from an unbiased source that has one goal in mind: to arm you with educational information that will help you become more proactive in your financial decision-making.

Business Info

  • This section of the National Consumer Protection Week website is divided into the following sub-sections: Websites, Video, PDF’s, and Online Articles & Tools.
  • Within the Videos section, website visitors are given free access to a video entitled “Protecting Personal Information: A Tutorial for Business.” This is no boring PowerPoint presentation; instead, an attorney for the Federal Trade Commission appears on the screen, speaking to you and walking you through an animated informational session. The simple, “no fluff” language suggests 5 easy-to-follow steps that business owners should take to protect their personal information. A helpful question and answer dialogue is weaved throughout the video as well.
  • In the PDF’s section, the site offers a business-focused Identity Theft Toolkit, courtesy of the Federal Trade Commission.

International

  • The first section gives you access to an international directory of dispute resolution providers (www.econsumer.gov.)
  • The second part links you to The International Consumer Protection and Enforcement Network (ICPEN) (www.icpen.org.) ICPEN is made up of governmental organizations worldwide; it oversees fair trade practice laws and encourages consumer protection.

Outreach Toolkit

  • The final section of the site offers the following tools to help your business promote its support of National Consumer Protection Week. These template are extremely user friendly-all you have to do is insert your business information and you’re good to go:

o        Sample Press Release: get your business more exposure while promoting National Consumer Protection Week
o        Sample Newsletter Article: use National Consumer Protection Week as a topic for your company newsletter
o        Sample Event Flyer: use your business to promote events in your own community that encourage consumer              awareness and protection
o        Radio Public Service Announcements:  gives you the option to listen and download them (or follow the transcript and record your own)

Actively participate in National Consumer Protection Week by visiting their website.  The tools they provide will give you a concrete action plan that will help you achieve your short and     long-term financial goals-no matter who you are!

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